By Ryan Gueningsman
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, MN Franklin Township Board denied a request from Xcel Energy to switch from underground to above-ground cable in the Fountain Lake area.
Eight residents were at the township board’s meeting last Monday with concerns regarding the issue and hoping to keep the utilities underground, according to the draft minutes from the meeting.
Xcel Energy submitted a request to the township for a permit to switch from underground to above-ground cable, which would require the installation of about 20 poles. The township board checked with the township’s engineer on the issue, and the engineer indicated he does not understand why a change to above-ground cable is needed.
The board has also spoken to the township attorney, who stated the township needs to do what it believes is best, especially if there are concerns of safety, and that the board can deny the request on these grounds. Xcel Energy proposed making this change on 77th Street to the entrance of Fountain Lake Peninsula.
The board denied the right-of-way permit request, citing safety in the above-ground cable is less than with the current underground cable. The board also cited the planned unit development of Cates Fountain Ridge and Melquist Fountain Lake Peninsula was to be underground utilities.
“We request to keep this utility underground,” according to the minutes.
Permit approved for Nature’s Nest festival
Catherine Rose of Nature’s Nest, located on Brighton Avenue, requested a commercial outdoor recreational permit for its annual festival.
Rose said she has also been asked more and more about weddings and receptions, fundraisers, and retreats on her property.
Wright County referred Rose to the township to begin the process of a conditional use permit for these functions.
Board Member John Czanstkowski Sr. questioned how alcohol would be handled at such events.
Rose said the state told her she can get a set-up license. People would be able to bring in their own alcohol, and it would not be sold on her property, it was noted.
The board approved the request for the permit to conduct the festival, as long as it meets the requirements and regulations of Wright County Planning and Zoning.
The board noted what has been done in the past has been done well, and it anticipates the same in the future.
Czanstkowski asked how often the conditional use permit would need to be renewed, and the board agreed that Wright County would make that determination.
Several contracts awarded for 2010
The board took action on several contracts for the upcoming year.
The township opened quote proposals and awarded the 2010 recycling contract to Wright Recycling at a cost of $2.40 per household for a two-year contract.
A second proposal was received from Randy’s Environmental Services, which bid $2.50 per household for the first year of a two-year contract, and $2.35 per household for the second year of the second year of a contract, for an average of $2.42 per year, per household.
The board also opened bids received and awarded its granite product contract for 2010 to Martin Marietta Materials of St. Cloud.
The company’s bid was the only one received, and its bid of $7.75 per ton is lower than its published price.
Two bids were received for the township’s dust control and the township awarded the contract to Dustcoating Inc. for 66.2 cents per gallon, contingent upon resident approval of the levy at the Tuesday, March 9 annual township meeting.
A second bid was received for dustcoating services from Groundscape Maintenance for 99 cents per gallon. The township noted it has past experience with the low bidder, Dustcoating Inc.
Nine bids were received by the township board for granite hauling for 2010. After reviewing the proposals, the board approved, on a split vote, to award the contract to Bjorklund Trucking of Isanti upon verification to deliver at the accepted bid price of $7.85 per ton. It was noted belly dumps will be put directly on township roads, and end dumps will be delivered to the township hall.
The next lowest bids were $7.99 and $8 for end dumps, and $8.48 for belly and end dumps.
Czanstkowski said he would like to keep the business local and said he did not see any representation from Bjorklund Trucking at the meeting. McMullen said he agreed, but noted the township’s bidding process is in place and must be followed to get the lowest price for the township.
Czanstkowski voted against the motion.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• appointed McMullen to the Wright County Planning and Zoning Highway 12 corridor land use plan transition committee. Czanstkowski will be the alternate to this committee.
• agreed that the township is willing to participate in a township road sign replacement program that Wright County has been selected to receive funding for.
• renewed a permit for Robert Perry to mine, crush, and recycle concrete. The board noted it was unaware of any problems with the operations.
• approved a request from John and Lori Seeman of 40th Street to expand their existing deck as part of a kitchen remodeling project.
A variance is needed because they are too close to the flood line for the Crow River. McMullen explained to residents in attendance how variances work, starting with the township and then seeking final approval from Wright County.
• heard from Joel Brunner of Crow River Bank, who asked the township to consider the Crow River Bank for the township accounts.
McMullen explained the township residents determine where the accounts are held each year at the annual meeting, which will be Tuesday, March 9.
Annual township meeting, election Tuesday, March 9
Franklin Township’s annual meeting will take place Tuesday, March 9 following the closing of the polls for the township election. The starting time will be approximately 8:15 p.m. at the Franklin Township Hall, located south of Delano on Wright County Road 16. See related story about the township election and meeting elsewhere in this week’s paper.